John Keats’ great poem “To Autumn” was published in 1820. He died less than a year later. He had a powerful message to send the world, and he didn’t have much time. Here’s what he wrote:
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, —
He could have shortened the first line and rushed headlong into the answer he wanted us to hear by deleting, “Ay, Where are they?”
That likely would have been satisfying — satisfying, but not as effective. Re-asking the question allows the reader or listener to pause, reflect and absorb the question.
Next time you seek to persuade, take a breath, like Keats, and let the recipient of the message catch up with you and the point you are about to make.